Why you should have a plan in place to manage ageing assets

do you believe any of these common health and safety myths feature image

Posted on 9th Dec, 2019 | By Lorretta Tatham

As we come to the end of another year, it’s an excellent time for managers and business owners to think about what plans to put in place for the start of the next one. A good point to start for any new year plans is with ageing assets. Examples of these ageing assets can include scaffold towers and ladders, or more large-scale plant equipment and heavy machinery. Whatever the nature of the asset in question, deterioration can be severely dangerous – if an asset suddenly breaks or fails at the wrong moment, it can mean a disaster for staff (for example, if a ladder breaks while someone is working at height).

For this reason alone, it’s strongly recommended to have a plan in place to identify and deal with ageing assets, even if it’s not actioned immediately. This is especially true in high hazard industries such as agriculture or construction. Here, we explore some of the essentials involved in formulating these plans, and some of the approaches you might want to consider.

Identifying creeping changes

We should begin by clarifying that when we refer to ageing, we’re not talking strictly in terms of how old an asset is. Instead, the discussion of ageing assets is focused on the condition of the assets in question, and how they change over time. This is where the subject of creeping changes comes in.

Creeping changes are exactly what they sound like – instead of sudden and easily noticeable changes in the condition of a certain piece of equipment, creeping changes manifest themselves gradually over time, often years or even decades. They can easily slip under the radar while staff are focused on more short-term asset integrity issues, especially if there are few or no long-term audits or studies being performed. As well as general degradation, this means that many obsolescence issues don’t become apparent until there’s a breakdown or failure.

inspecting step ladder before use

The asset itself doesn’t even have to be in poor condition before it starts to pose an issue. In certain industries, sudden or rapid technological changes or other developments can cause problems for certain businesses who fail to adapt, as competitors move onto more efficient (and therefore more profitable) processes or machinery. This is a big part of the reason why businesses are well-advised to actively keep themselves abreast of any changes or evolutions within their industry, so that even if they’re not currently in a position to replace their equipment, they can at least set long-term goals and plan accordingly.

Ultimately, whatever form these creeping changes take, it’s vital for businesses to make regular checks so that they can stay aware of them, and therefore avoid being caught off guard.

Here at Browns Safety, one of our core services can help in that regard – our accredited ladder inspection service can ensure that all your access equipment is in excellent condition, so you can have total peace of mind in the safety of your staff. We also offer a range of health and safety training courses so that you and your team can keep your industry knowledge and expertise at the cutting edge, or simply take a quick refresher on what you’ve learned before. You can take a look around our site to find a specific course that suits you, or if you’ve already made your decision you can give us a call on 01282 615517 to book your places. We’re here to help!

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